Constructing => General Discussion => Topic started by: pchow13 on December 16, 2011, 03:44:03 AM

Title: Theme Idea?
Post by: pchow13 on December 16, 2011, 03:44:03 AM
Hi - I'm a beginner in crossword puzzle constructing (had a few puzzles rejected by the NYTimes), but I'm still working hard and improving.

I'm wondering what others think about the following theme:

JASONOMARA (10) He plays Jim Shannon on "Terra Nova"
ANNAPAQUIN (10) "True Blood" actress
IDEATHIEVES (11) Plagiarists
YOSEMITESAM (11) Enemy of Bugs Bunny
SILICONEMOLD (12) Flexible bundt bakeware
HIDDENVALLEY (12) Salad dressing brand, and this puzzle's theme

(sonoma, napa, death, yosemite, silicon)

I like how the valleys are all in California, but I'm not too happy how "silicon" and "yosemite" aren't "hidden" whereas the others are broken between two words or names. I tried very hard to split up silicon, but nothing makes sense (saint basil icons? yea, that's very absurd). Also, the phrases 'silicone mold' and 'idea thieves' are kind of awkward.

Any input or feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Title: Re: Theme Idea?
Post by: SJS on December 16, 2011, 09:20:34 AM
I think your analysis is correct.  Good theme idea, with two entries that don't really cut it.  Of course, you probably couldn't squeeze all of those into a puzzle anyway if you are working on a daily.

I'd suggest you punt on the idea of keeping all the valleys in CA.  What may be more of an issue is that some of your entries are people and some aren't.  I can't decide if "IDEATHEIVES" works - it is a made-up phrase, but it is apt and so you might get away with it. 

People tend to be harder (I wouldn't have known Jason O'Mara, for example), but at least there's no question of their legitimacy.  You might try to make all of the entries celebrity names and use famous but not necessarily CA valleys to give yourself more flexibility.

Alternatively, use only one name (ANNA PAQUIN is nice) so as not to set up the expectation that all theme entries will be names.
Title: Re: Theme Idea?
Post by: VB on December 16, 2011, 09:58:07 AM
I agree with SJS.  Like the idea, but could do without YOSEMITESAM and SILICONEMOLD - too close to the original word (identical in the case of Yosemite Sam).  I don't mind IDEATHIEVES.  Also, I have been watching reruns of "Life on Mars," which starred Jason O'Mara, so I might be biased in his favor. I think that he's fine, but you should make sure to give an easy cross on the M so people don't guess that his name is O'Hara.

I think that if you're going to include the revealer, which I like, and you're looking at a daily, which I think you are, you could get away with only three theme entries (and would struggle to fit in many more anyway).  ANNAPAQUIN, JASONOMARA, and IDEATHIEVES would work for me. I especially like that I they are no-brainer valleys (I don't think of Yosemite as a valley, but as a national park). I'd probably go with those.  There are even some fun letters (J, Q, two V's).

Good luck with the fill,
- VB